Mrs. Zhou spoke simply and made everything clear, outlining both the pros and cons. She was aware that not all tenant farmers had terrible lives. In fact, some of them had a lot of strength and were able to earn more than their peers and might be able to expand the amount of land they rented or even buy their own land eventually.
Mrs. Zhou knew that the tenant farmers like this wouldn’t be interested in selling themselves. However, most tenant farmers weren’t like that. For most tenant farmers, being bought as a slave was actually an opportunity. Therefore, her words were for those people. As for the rest, Mrs. Zhou didn’t have anything to say.
After all, Miss Su had already bought the land and it was hers now. She was the one who made the final decisions about whether to rent or to sell or whatever else. Thus, since it seemed that she had no intentions to rent, there just wasn’t anything more to say on the topic.
“I can decide straight away. Can you take me to see Miss Su?” The young man from before spoke up again in a decisive tone.
Seeing him decide so quickly, Mrs. Zhou frowned and said: “In the end, this isn’t a small matter, if your family…”
“Mrs. Zhou might not know, but that young man is already the head of his household and can make all the decisions.” Another man spoke up.
Mrs. Zhou had only felt that this really wasn’t a trivial matter and that the young man should discuss it with his family first, but now that someone else had spoken up like this it was hard for her to stop him anymore.
“Well, if that’s the case then I’ll take you to see Miss Su now. As for the rest of you, go ahead and go back first. Miss Su and I will be staying here for the next couple of days and leaving early the day after tomorrow.” Mrs. Zhou finally nodded and then said a few more words. Her words were also to let the tenant farmers know that they only had the next two days to consider.
The tenant farmers chorused their agreement and then spread out to return to their homes without saying anything more. Meanwhile, Mrs. Zhou didn’t directly take the young man to see Su Tang, instead, she questioned him a bit to understand his situation.
After talking to him she found out that the young man’s name was Jiang Hong, and his wife was called Madam Zhang. They were originally from a small village but shortly after Madam Zhang married Jiang Hong, Jiang Hong discovered an opportunity outside, so he took his wife to make a living doing business in the nearby town. Jiang Hong was a fairly capable man, and Madam Zhang was clever, so they did pretty well.
(tl note: this Zhang-shi is spelled the exact same way (张氏) as Su Sanshou’s wife. She hardly ever shows up in the story though so hopefully it never gets confusing.)
The husband and wife worked diligently outside and, through their own efforts, their lives were getting better and better and they even had a daughter together. Everything seemed to be fine but who could have guessed that by doing so well in business they would catch the eyes of some greedy people?
Those greedy people deliberately targetted them in business and also found people to make trouble at their shop, so before long the couple’s business could no longer continue. They were already in a miserable state when, as if to prove that when it rained it poured, Jiang Hong’s parents had a fatal accident on the road.
The couple’s business had already collapsed, and then their parents suddenly had an accident, so they could only go back home to attend the funeral together and then try to return to their old simple lives. However, because of the talent they had displayed in business, those greedy people wouldn’t let them off. When the head of the Jiang family discovered that they had offended some people and might implicate the family, he unexpectedly expelled them both along with their daughter from the family clan.
Once the Jiang family expelled them from the clan it was equivalent to completely destroying the futures of the couple and their child all at once. At the same time, Madam Zhang’s family also turned their backs on the couple. Like this, the two fell into an abyss and could only unwillingly become tenant farmers. Even though they were very capable, unfortunately, in this era people who had been expelled from their family clans just had no future to speak of. Thus, selling themselves as slaves was actually one of the best options for them.
This was because when a person sold themselves as a slave and put their own life or death in the hands of their master, it was also considered “leaving” their family clan. That was to say, no slaves had family clans, so they would be no different from the rest.
“My wife and I can both work, and our family only consists of us two and our child. If Miss Su is willing to take us in then she will be the benefactor of our whole family, and we will definitely work as her dog or horse to repay the young miss.”
Jiang Hong firmly expressed his determination to Mrs. Zhou. After hearing his story, Mrs. Zhou could only sigh. As a broker who dealt in this line of work, she had seen countless pitiful people before, but Jiang Hong and his wife were exceptionally unlucky to have been targeted to the point that even their family clan had expelled them. That was really just pushing a person to death.
Still, she couldn’t make any decisions, so after understanding everything, Mrs. Zhou went to inform Su Tang about Jiang Hong and his wife.
tl begging corner: